As fulfilling and wonderful as it might feel to adopt a baby or child in foster care, it’s important to be aware of what is needed to complete the process. Though many families who have adopted swear it’s more than worth it, there are some legal and financial hurdles that could catch you off guard and make the process stressful, long, and emotionally draining.
But before searching out foster care services, adoption agencies, or adoption attorneys in Colorado, here are some facts, need-to-knows, statistics, and frequently asked questions about adoption in the Centennial State and the U.S.
Stats About Adoption in the U.S.
- Only 2 percent of Americans have adopted, yet nearly one-third of Americans have considered adopting
- One of every 25 families with children have adopted, and roughly half of these families have both birth and adopted children
- Around 7 million Americans are adopted
- Around 140,000 children are adopted each year
- 6 of 10 Americans have personal experience with adoption
- 62 percent of adopted children were adopted within a month of birth
- Only 4 percent of women with unplanned pregnancies place their children up for adoption
- Of the 400,000 children in foster care, approximately 117,000 are waiting to be adopted.
Stats About Adoption and Foster Care in Colorado in 2020:
- 10 children and youth entered foster care per day on average
- 2,450 certified foster and kinship parents in the state
- 7,920 children/youth lived in out-of-home placements like foster families, group homes, and residential centers (Down from 9,483 in 2019)
- 799 children and youth were adopted in 2020
- In 2019, there were 4,447 children and youth in foster care in the state
How does foster care differ from adoption?
Foster care generally refers to parents or an individual temporarily caring for a child for a dictated period of time, whereas adoption has more permanent indications. Often, if children are unable to return to their original homes or families, they will be placed up for adoption.
What types of adoption are there?
There are three main types of adoption: adoption from foster care, private domestic adoption, and international adoption. Private domestic adoptions indicate situations where parents voluntarily place their biological children in custody of a professional child placement agency that is licensed to complete adoptions. Child placement agencies and adoption attorneys are involved to manage and arrange the process.
What’s the difference between open and closed adoption?
Open adoptions generally refer to situations where birth parents and adoptive parents are in contact prior to the birth of the child and continued thereafter. The two sides can decide how “open” they want the adoption to be, whether it be visits, letters and phone calls, pictures and gifts, etc. This is a beneficial option for easy access to medical records and history, and could provide adoptive parents insight into their child’s makeup.
Closed adoptions are known for privacy, and generally, the adoptive family and birth mother or parents remain confidential and have no contact with each other before and after the adoption is finalized.
What are the requirements for adoptive and foster parents?
In the state of Colorado, prospective adoptive and foster parents must be at least 21 years old, pass a background check, training, and complete a home study — a screening process where adoption agents will do a home visit to assess the maturity, stability, safety, and other aspects of prospective parents. There is also state- and agency-mandated training that must be completed prior to a home study.
How expensive is adoption in Colorado?
- With domestic infant adoption in Colorado, fees will vary per agency but “generally remain consistent with the national average of $16,000 to $20,000 per adoption.”
- The fees for a normal home study range from $2,000 to $3,000
- There are usually no legal fees associated with fostering, but private child placement agencies provide adoption licensing services for a fee of $1,800 to $3,500
- International adoption: $32,000 to $66,000, depending on the country from which you adopt
- Adoption attorney fees vary depending on paperwork vs. representation
How long is the adoption process?
Adoption can be a lifelong process with lots of waiting. There is a clear list of steps outlined by the Colorado Department of Human Services below:
- Find what types of adoption services are available in the state
- Attend an information session – generally one day
- Attend training sessions – generally four to 10 sessions
- Home study process – three to six months to complete on average, though there could be a waiting period of several months before a home study can be conducted.
- Matching process – current wait time between home study and matching is between one and 24 months. But international adoptions can take several years based on the country, gender, waitlist, etc.
- Placement and post-placement supervision – can vary greatly
- Finalization of adoption – between three and twelve months after a child comes home
Because wait times can vary greatly between a few months and several years, adoptions take a long time, and it can be unclear how long you’ll wait for your child. Check with local agencies and foster care providers about current wait times and availability.
Can I adopt a child from another state?
According to the Adoption Center, “The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), passed in 1998, requires state agencies to speed up a child’s move from foster care to adoption by establishing time frames for permanency planning and guidelines for when a child must be legally freed for adoption. The law also removes geographic barriers to adoption by requiring that states not delay or deny a placement if an approved family is available outside the state.”
Before You Adopt
Make sure you are adopting for the right reasons and understand the potential wait time, financial implications, legal requirements, and have the emotional capacity needed for the duration of the process.
Choose your adoption or foster care professionals carefully, and look for good reviews, recommendations, and success stories in the agencies and attorneys you’re exploring.
Keep in mind the agencies, attorney lawyers(peekfamilylaw.com), foster homes, and social workers will hold you accountable for completing all required training sessions, completion of a home study which could require personal character references, medical and criminal background checks, and child abuse clearance; though generally, they’re a helping hand throughout the process.
There is financial assistance available for those looking to adopt, make sure you explore local options. Many companies and government agencies are now offering adoption benefits.